CYCLE OF LIFE

I wish I had been born in a culture where people refer to the Fall season as Autumn. Autumn sounds so cosmopolitan! Not Fall. Fall is a dreary name for a dreary season.

All right, Ms Miserable. What’s your gripe?

Generations come, and generations go,

but the earth lasts forever. Eccl. 1:4

As I walked around the yard I found rose bushes in various stages of beauty. Granted we do not think “beauty” when we see the lush colorful flowers drop and leave only hulls. But look with an eye of vision. If the bloom doesn’t drop, no new blooms will come. Very much like life, isn’t it?

Overall life’s cycle consists of youth, maturity, old age, and death. Odd that death is always added into life’s cycle. Only one of these age seasons is guaranteed; that is death. Humm.

The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Ps 116:15

The Writer of the Bible is the only one who sees the result of death. He knows. There must be something good! Spring must be coming! Youth must be coming! The roses must be coming.

SIGNIFICANT NOTE: You see that that Ps. verse has a very important modifying phrase; that is, “of his saints.” I believe the Lord grieves deeply when the will of a man or a woman refuses to accept his offer to become his saint. His saint, his follower, a believer in Jesus Christ.

“Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such an exclusive statement may confuse, surprise, or even offend, but it is true nonetheless. The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-only-way.html For more in depth look, visit the link.

If you wish to “bloom again” you really should give thought to the matter. Death of the body is not death of the soul. Where will you go when you no longer live in your earthly body?

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PUZZLE ME

Puzzle? Now that’s a real puzzle. Do you mean puzzle as a noun or puzzle as a verb. Can I also use it as an adjective? Like in “that is a puzzling situation?” Oh, I remember from way back seventy years or so, when I studied gerunds. I think it is a gerund there.

There is a man at the senior center who comes three times a week, stays several hours, and puts together 1000 piece puzzles. He is a puzzle to me! He put together a thousand piece puzzle for me one time. I took it apart in quarter sections; I placed each quarter section in a zip lock bag; now I have four 250 piece puzzles. That I can handle. I can do each mini-puzzle then put the four sections together. Have I described this procedure well enough for you to understand or am I leaving you with your mind in a puzzle?

Can a riddle also be called a puzzle? If so, I am leaving you with this puzzle?

“What is always coming but never arrives?” That was a puzzle to me; I could not get the answer. Can you?

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Thanks, Linda, for this word for a prompt, “puzzle” I enjoy being in your community of readers/writers who regularly – or occasionally – drop in for some fun.

This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday offered by lindaghill at https://lindaghill.com/2021/09/17/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-18-2021/

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MANDATES AND WEARY CHRISTIANS

“I’m just not watching anymore TV,” stated my friend.   We had just attended a meeting in which someone said the mess in our country was our fault, speaking of senior-aged Christians, laying the blame on our lethargy in letting “stuff” happen without speaking up.  I agree completely. 

We have been taught “Live in peace with all men” and “let there be no divisions between you.”  Letters to editors of papers and magazines—almost unheard of; attendance at local political rallies—almost unheard of; protests on the streets—almost unheard of; spitting fire on tweeter—unheard of.  That’s the way it has been!  It is the fault of sleeping Christians.  Too often Christians point out that we do not fight the way the world fights.  Our duty is to put on the armor of God and pray.  Yep.  But do you believe even five percent of people who claim to be Christians do that?  Even if we do that, it does not absolve us of having an obligation to be good citizens of the nation in which we live. 

Meanwhile the evil has crept in tide by tide so it is now a huge wave swamping the land.  Boy scouts have to take girls; “rainbow” no longer represents a promise of God; urinals removed from restrooms because it might offend “persons with no male genitalia;” babies murdered by the millions. 

So it goes.  Evil has overtaken us.  And Christians are weary. 

My nephew, Teral,  put the following scripture on FB this morning. 
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Daniel 7:25 KJ

This is speaking of the anti-Christ.  I do not know whether or not the anti-Christ now lives. But I do know there are things happening right now that are preparing the way for him.  The current “mandate” orders are a significant sign. 

Other translations of the above scripture say “saints are worn down, oppressed, persecuted.”  I am witness to that truth. 

Another interesting thing about this scripture is “think to change times and laws.”  Isn’t that referring to breaking down of traditions and laws?  Looks like it to me.  We are certainly having a change in laws, moral laws, even in Constitutional laws. And traditions? Now it is no longer to talk of mothers and fathers! A combination of anything can be family – if indeed one demands a family at all.

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Thanks, Teral, for the scripture today.

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JONAH

Jonah’s Wrath over Nineveh in the shade of plant (Jonah, Chapter 4). Woodcut engraving after a drawing by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (German painter, 1794 – 1872), published in 1877.

         Jonah was a contemporary prophet to Amos and Joel.  His message was to Ninevah, the capital of Assyria, before Assyria overran the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

         Jonah is a straight through easy read book written as a narrative story. Basically it is about a disobedient man who suffered the consequences of his disobedience by sitting in a fish’s belly for three days. 

          Even after obeying God, Jonah has a nasty attitude.  He went out to pout by sitting in the sun on the mountain side.  God raised a plant for his shade, but quickly sent a worm to destroy Jonah’s shade.  That makes him even madder!  Jonah never makes it out of the mopes as far as this book tells it. 

The good thing about the story is how the city of Nineveh repented and God saved them.

MORE FROM JONAH —

          1.  After Nineveh repented God restored the city and it existed for about a hundred years before becoming evil again.  I suggest this is important because it shows the testimony and blessings of the generation who lived and repented as an effect from Jonah’s ministry.  This could be roughly three generations who were influenced by this mighty “revival” and missionary effort. 

           2.  Notice Jonah’s first missionary success was with the captain and sailors on the ship he was in on his way to Tarshish.  1:4-16 The captain and sailors all prayed to their gods.  Perhaps Jonah sleeping was a sign that he had a different God.  He ‘fessed up to making God angry.  Interesting that these seamen did not just want to be safe or they would have thrown Jonah overboard as he suggested. Instead they were open to learning about the Hebrew’s God.  A missionary victory there—they became believers. Then they threw him over. 😀

            3.  Jesus refers to the great fish as a whale.  It was amusing to read online all the arguments about why a whale cannot swallow a man and a man cannot breath enough air to live in a fish’s belly.  It was miracle, of course.  Those with faith know it happened since the Bible says it happened.

             4.  This story is a type of the story of Jesus’s resurrection.  When an Old Testament story is a prophesy of N. T. fulfillment the O.T. story is called a “type” and the N.T. fulfillment is called an “antitype.”

           5.  We are told that the wickedness of Nineveh came up before God.  I find this interesting.  God does not “look upon evil” for the sake of catching people doing wrong.  I believe someone or some group of people in Nineveh had heard of the Lord God and made intercession for the city.  I can’t prove that.

           6.  Chapter 2.1-9  Jonah’s prayer.  Notice how Jonah’s prayer sounds like it happened after Jonah was delivered, but verse 1 says he prayed it from inside the fish.  (out of the fish’s belly)  I wonder what would happen if I were to write a prayer for an issue that deeply troubles me and I write that prayer from the standpoint of having already obtained my answer.  Thus, giving thanks before seeing the favorable answer.  That’s faith.

            7.  Chapter 4 deals with Jonah’s anger and God’s object lesson of sending a vine for some shelter and then cutting it off, leaving Jonah with God’s question of why he was so angry at God because Nineveh had repented.  How would that apply to me or to other modern day Christians?  How would I feel about America’s current condition if the economy suddenly boomed in spite of covid and mandates? How would I feel if God blesses America even though I predict disaster because of our abortion stance? How would I feel if my neighbor whom I know as a reprobate is honored by the city fathers as the Model Citizen of the Year?

           8. There is a lot of archaeological evidence about the old city if you are interested in looking it up.  I started to do it for you, but it’s too late, I’m too tired, and the post is too long.

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REMEMBER THALIDOMIDE?

Phillipa Bradbourne, a Thalidomide baby born without arms at a party given at Hamilton Terrace, London to mark the first anniversary of the Lady Hoare Thalidomide Appeal. Eight Thalidomide babies and their parents were host to eight normal babies and their parents. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

I looked online to see if there were any cautions against people prone to blood-clotting (taking blood thinner) taking the covid19 vaccine. No problem at all! How about side effects on pregnant women? No problem at all! If either of these situations had even recommended checking with your doctor, I would have more respect for maybe getting the truth.

Anyway that subject set me to remembering the thalidomide babies from the 1960’s. Not very many of them still living. I haven’t often seen news reports from those tragic incidents. On occasion I have seen some who have had amazing inspirational lives in spite of their physical condition. Or maybe it was because of their condition.

As I pointed out above, the google clips all maintained there are/will be no negative side effects of the covid vax on pregnancy. It really does seem a little early to me to know for sure that it is safe. Just think of how many babies have been conceived and born since the vax became available! No problem! Vax started when? Lots of pregnant mothers have conceived and given birth to base that statement on. Why, we are already in the tenth month since vaccinations started! Me and science. I’m old school. I keep thinking science means one has to have a population of pregnant mothers to make these “studies” on.

But in case the vax does cause a problem, it can be handled much easier now that we live under Roe/Wade. Much easier to get rid of that problem child. And it will help on population control.

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OMEN FROM GOD

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

I’m sort of laughing at myself knowing many of you fictioneers like morbid mysterious stuff. I considered writing about Luke’s jealous nature and the mysterious disappearance of Lucy’s former boyfriend. Ending with “What is that red liquid dropping under that bale of hay?” That is the plot of the morbid story I did not write.

The following story is the one I did write. 😀

“Reminds me of your marriage proposal,” smiled Lucy taking Luke’s hand.

Luke and Lucy were country kids. Not many options for Luke to make an impressive marriage proposal.  Long walk on the beach? Romantic promenade across a mountain stream? A fine dinner at a luxury hotel?  Not possible.

So Luke filled a box with hay and they played “find a needle in the haystack.”  As they searched, he “found” the ring.  Presented it as an omen from God that they should marry. 

Cheesy?  Yes.  But Luke and Lucy are on their way to sell their hay. They are moving on up!

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Thanks to Rochelle for the 100 word Friday Fictioneers picture prompt challenge. https://rochellewisoff.com/

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OBADIAH

          Obadiah predicted the fall of Edom.  The Edomites were blood kin to the Israelites.  The Edomites were from the family of Esau the twin brother of Jacob the father of the Israelites.  So it was especially egregious that they joined other nations in destroying Jerusalem.  The Edomites thought they were indestructible for two basic reasons:  1.  They lived high in the rocky fortress of the mountains (v 3).  2.  They had made allies of the surrounding nations (v 7).  They felt safe because of their geographic location and because of their relationship with other nations.  This has been true of the USA until recent years.  Those “safeguards” are now questionable.

1:8  The “wise” people will be destroyed  (Have we been proud of our knowledge, science, technology?)

1:9   The mighty warriors will be terrified  (Do we trust in our mighty army and equipment?)

1:10-14  The charges against them regarding their participation in the destruction of Jerusalem.  (Look at this also as we evaluate USA standing with Israel.  In the past, Christians have stood firm in defending Israel.  Are we now withdrawing from that stance.  We do so at our own peril.) 

1:15-16  God will avenge Jerusalem

1:16-21  Israel will return to “become a raging fire” against them and occupy the land.  And the Lord will be king.  — It is likely that the nation of Edom lasted no more than a couple hundred years after Obadiah was written.

TRIVIA:     King Herod the Great was an Edomite. 

JUST FOR FUN AND A MEMORY HELPER.  I visualize this as a fist fight between brothers (Jacob’s linage and Esau’s linage) in which Jacob give Esau a black eye.  Esau yells “O-bad-eye.”  Okay!  Stop the applause, but it does help me remember quite a bit about the Book of Obadiah.  😀

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BURNING BUSH

A few years ago I got a new pair of glasses with updated prescription. Inside the building I didn’t notice much change, but when I stepped outside, I was astounded that I could see individual leaves on the bushes and trees. They were no long blobs. I was delighted at the detail that surrounded me.

How much we take for granted with the gradual decline of our senses. We forget the delightful curiosity of childhood when every detail was a charm. Did you ever watch a child whirling Cheerios on his food tray? Did you ever urge him to come along when he wanted to squat down and watch a spider in the walk? Did you ever tell him to hurry when he wanted to blow on dandelions? How much we miss by not looking.

I wonder if Moses was the first shepherd to come within eyesight of the burning bush. Was he the first who God invited to “take off your shoes and listen to me.” Would it be possible for us to go first, take off our shoes and sit a bit just to see what God is doing?

“Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush is afire with God; But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If you pluck blackberries, you will may have blackberry pie; if you inquire of the Fire, you may have a miracle. Sadly many of us choose the pie.

 Matthew 13:13 “ Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

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I thank my pastor, Darrell Ray, for using the Browning quote in his sermon last Sunday. He ended with the reminder that God’s promise was that He would be present with us “where two or three” are gathered in His name. Therefore, we were standing on holy ground.

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HOPE ENDURES

Moonrise over Pacific Ocean at night.

Drifting  in the sea of space

Moonlight reflects hope

In the darkest of midnights.

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Written for https://ronovanwrites.com/2021/09/06/ronovan-writes-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-374-lights-and-night/ Write haiku using words “lights” and “night”

Image: gettyimages.com

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ACTS 2:44-47 – PETER’S WAY, NOT BERNIE’S

       Last post I promised a look at  Acts 2:44-47 in which the N. T. Jesus followers  sold goods and combined resources to take care of the influx of people joining the church.  To do this, let me set the following imaginary scene.

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REMEMBER THIS IS AN IMAGED SCENARIO!

       Right here in my home town, Mustang, OK, we have been overrun with immigrants from the southern border—must be near four thousand or so.  Then to top that off the US government has just settled three thousand more refugees from Afghanistan!  Nearly seven or eight thousand people.  Our town has hotel facilities for about five hundred.  Some of the immigrants have money so they quickly filled those rooms.  Other folks are wandering around not knowing what to do.

     But look! They are all gathering down near the main corner.  Oh, there is a preacher there.  There are drunken speakers—no, they are not drunk.  It seems they are having a religious experience  of some sort.  They are speaking some odd language.  Strange how the people hear and understand those strange words.  Wow!  Many are falling on their faces, asking the preacher what to do.  They want to become a part of his Way. 

       The pastors get together.  “We must teach the new converts about Jesus before they go back to their own settlements.  How can we do that?”  Obviously it is going to take everybody going together to do that.  Some have homes big enough to help; some churches can open their fellowship halls; some will have to have help to feed those who go home with them.  Where will they get the money?  Enthusiastic Christians give as much as they have; some sell the empty lots they own; some sell their extra cars.  But no one can sell their homes or there will be no place to take them.

         So, dear readers, that does not mean they all became communists or socialists, or lived in communes from that day.  No, when the influx of people returned to their new private abodes taking the gospel with them, the people of God (church members) who had helped out during that opportune time returned to the regular routine of their own lives. Many of them, however, did continue teaching the gospel and having fellowship in their homes.

         Sorry, Bernie, you will not be able to take advantage of this crises.  People have returned to their jobs and businesses to take care of themselves and be prepared for the next emergency.

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